Whenever we are explaining coverages to current and prospective Auto Insurance clients, we are often asked to explain the terms Comprehensive and Collision.
First, many people think that the word Comprehensive describes all claim types.
Instead, Comprehensive is actually the coverage for claims that involve damage done to your vehicle as a result of claim types that are “Other Than Collision”.
Some of the most common auto claims that are of a Comprehensive nature are; windshield breakage, hitting an animal, theft, hail, and vandalism.
Collision claims on the other hand involve damages that occur to your vehicle as a result of an at fault accident that has occurred. The most common collision claims are when drivers hit other vehicles and inanimate objects such as a tree or a mailbox. Both Comprehensive and Collision coverages provide protection for damages done to the policyholder’s vehicle, but not for the other person’s vehicle or property. Coverage for the other person’s vehicle and property are afforded from the policyholder’s liability and property damage coverage. This distinction is important to understand, as there are usually deductibles that policyholders have to pay for Comprehensive and Collision claims. There are not deductibles to pay by the policyholder for liability or property damage.
Lastly, when reporting claims to your carrier, it is very important to explain the details of your claim to the claims associate taking your report.
You should not assume that the claims associate you are speaking with is categorizing your claim properly.
For example; if you strike an object in the roadway that is moving like a tread tire that has just fallen off a tractor trailer tire you have had a comprehensive claim. If that tread tire is not moving and you run over or into it causing damage to your vehicle you have had a collision. If you tell the claims associate only that you “hit” a tread-tire they will most likely assume that it was not moving and deem your claim as a Comprehensive claim.
It is important to remember that you will most likely have a higher deductible for a Collision claim than a Comprehensive claim. An at fault accident (Collision) may also cause your policy premium to increase from the loss of your accident free discounts and from the claim itself. A Comprehensive claim is not considered an “at fault” claim and may not affect your future the premiums the same.